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Catching Up – Part 2 – Virtual “Walks”

I am continuing to catch y’all up on what’s been happening at Chez Auburnchick when I haven’t been writing.

Over the last few weeks, I’ve participated in a few virtual races.

In April, I completed the Unmasked 10 Mile Run for Your Life, hosted by the Hogwarts Running Club.  All proceeds benefited the charity, To Write Love on her Arms.

I had to do the race in three segments because that distance was way too far for me to cover in one stretch.

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Leg 1

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Leg 2

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Leg 3

I was thrilled when the medal came in.  Isn’t it fantastic????

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Look at the back!  The HRC always designs the loveliest touches to its medals.

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In May, Rebecca and I did the Best Friends Forever 5k.

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She had contacted me about doing it quite a few months ago, but my ankle wasn’t nearly ready to undertake that distance, so true to her nature, she waited for me.

We designated May 13th as THE day.

I got out early and wound up with a decent pace time . . .

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I was so excited to add the medal to my bling rack . . .

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We’d done a Halloween run last fall and had a ton of fun sending each other selfies, which we’d put together into a collage.  She created one for the BFF run.

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This gal continues to inspire me.  She NEVER gives up.  She constantly challenges herself and is always willing to try new things.  I am so grateful that God brought us together through this blogging world.

Upcoming Races

I am currently registered for three . . . yes, I said 3 . . . races.

Oy vey!

I’ve got the HRC Sirius Half Marathon.  Look at the artwork for the t-shirt . . .

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Borrowed this image from Booster.com

Proceeds will be donated to Mission K9 Rescue.

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I’ve already started covering the distance and have about 2/3 of it done.  Yay me!

I recently signed up for a local 5k.  I’ll be doing that race in a couple of weeks.  Wait until you see my outfit for it.  Bahahaha!

On Wednesday, I registered for the We Run Free Because of the Brave 4 Miler, sponsored by Gone for a Run.  This race will benefit the Intrepid Fallen Heroes Fund.

So, despite my ankle recovery, which seems to be especially tough right now, I am trying to keep doing my thing.  It’s not easy, let me tell you.  The pain I go through after each walk is bad.  I don’t really know how much of it is normal or if I’m pushing myself too hard.  That’s a conversation I frequently have with my physical therapist.

It feels great to be out and about again, and I absolutely love that my registrations are going to worthwhile causes.  This is definitely a win-win for everyone involved (except maybe my ankle).

Fruits of Labor

Do you remember my mention of Knitting for Hope?  This project was started a few months ago by my friends Rae, Rabbitrescuer, and Figaro.

Fig’s mom lives and works on a reservation in California.  There is a great need for baby items.  It was my friends’ hope that they could encourage expectant mothers to visit the clinic for much-needed pre-natal care.

I sent Fig a hat and bootie set, which I blogged about here

Knitting for Hope took a few weeks to get going, but now there are a number of people sending items.  Fig’s mom has been able to put care packages together and is sharing these items with other clinics in her area.

Fig sent me a picture of one such package…

Do you see anything familiar?

My hat and bootie set!!

I am touched beyond words.

Once again, I see how God is using my hands to touch others, and I am humbled.  It is an honor to serve Him by serving those here on earth.

The Frog Prince

Once upon a time there was a fair-haired girl named Chicky.

Chicky had a friend named Happy who always had a way of bringing joy to those around him.

One day, Happy became sad when his Papa became sick.

Chicky visited their castle  and inquired how she might be of assistance, making special mention of the skills that her mother, Duchess of Knitting, possessed.

“Does she make stuffed animals?” Happy’s mom asked.

“The Duchess is very talented.  Your wish is her command,” and she carried the request back home to her very beautiful mother.

The Duchess found the perfect pattern (Frog Prince by Alan Dart) in a magazine she had stowed away (Simply Knitting – March 2009).

The Duchess then visited her local market, picking up some Vanna’s Choice in Olive and Dusty Green (we all know that Vanna’s been around for a very long time) along with some I Love This Yarn in Buttercup and Forest.

She toiled late into the night…several nights, in fact, and produced a work of art even a king would be proud of…

The frog’s crown is a reminder that there is a Great King who rules over the land, keeping watch over His children…

Chicky and the Duchess hope that every time Happy and his Papa look at the frog, they will remember to Fully Rely On God (see the acronym)…especially during this time while Papa is sick.

As the frog has great big eyes that see all, so does our Heavenly Father, who loves each one of us and keeps a close eye on each of His children…

And they lived Happily Ever After.

The End.

Cutting it Close

Knitting can be a nail-biting experience sometimes.

Have you ever been working on something and realized that you might just run out of yarn before the end?

This happened to me last night while knitting a pair of Lacy Rib Baby Socks to accompany the hat I made Knit for Hope.

I finished the hat a few days ago.  It’s a super-easy pattern that you can find here.  It took 20 grams of yarn using size 6 needles.

I used Plymouth Dreambaby DK (color #205).  It is 50% acrylic and 50% nylon…soft and stretchy…

Each skein has 50 grams (183 yards) of yarn.  It’s not a lot, but certainly enough to make a couple of projects.  I had 30 grams left when I finished the hat…just enough for the baby socks.

So I cast on, using a free pattern found here (direct download) or go here if you want to browse the designer’s other patterns.  I decided to use size 4 needles.

The pattern is easy to memorize, and the lacy design is really very pretty.  The sprinkling of colors hides the design a bit in my photos.

I’m considering converting this pattern to an adult-sized sock.  I think it would be gorgeous in a solid yarn.

What a nervous wreck I was!  I got the first sock done, weighed it on my postage scale, and realized that I would have just enough yarn to finish the other sock.

So I cast on and prayed.  There was no way I wanted to get near the end and come up short.  I did knit a little tighter.  I think this was the key to finishing up.

At the end, I had less than five grams of yarn left…

All-in-all, I’m pleased.

The set is just adorable and will keep a little head and set of toes warm…

Throwing Down the Gauntlet

First, a definition of the phrase, courtesy of YourDictionary.com:

This expression alludes to the medieval practice of a knight throwing down his gauntlet, or metal glove, as a challenge to combat. Its figurative use dates from the second half of the 1700s, as does the less frequently heard take up the gauntlet, for accepting a challenge.

Now, I’m not exactly challenging you to do battle.  Not in a negative sense, that is.

Think red…green…Christmas colors…

These are the five stockings I’ve finished thus far ever since reading about a special project on Dustina’s blog.

You might remember that last year, I knit up a bunch of mini stockings that were part of a larger effort for the troops.

Dustina worked on that project as well and decided to adopt it as her own grass-roots effort for local children who will not get much for Christmas.

I think that this will be a tough holiday season for a lot of people.

Maybe you’ve never made a pair of socks, and the thought scares you to death.

Let me encourage you by saying that this small stocking pattern is PERFECT for you!  By using worsted weight yarn, the project flies right off of your needles.  The instructions are very easy to understand.  She wrote them for two magic loop/two circulars and double-pointed needles.

I am using leftover yarn from last year’s stocking project.  This project requires very little, so if you only have one skein, you can probably crank out three or four easy.  Probably more.

Now…the challenge.

Would you be willing to knit ten of them?  If ten of my readers (do I have this many readers, by the way?) were to knit ten, then that’s 100 stockings!  I have a goal for myself, which I don’t want to share because I’ll feel badly if I don’t meet it.  It’s more than ten though.  So, added to my amount, we can put a dent in her goal of getting 1,000 made.

Please, visit her blog and read more about it.  She will accept fabric stockings as well, so if you’re handy with a sewing machine or needle and thread, this might be just your thing.

A Travelin’ Blanket

I finished my section of the Oddball Orphan Blanket today!

I used Vanna’s Choice – Colonial Blue and knit the Broken Diagonal Check pattern from the book knit & purl

Chicky and Guy Friend held it up for me today, being careful not to stretch out the top section and thus keep all of the stitches on the needles.

Here’s a close-up of the pattern…

I wove in all of the ends from previous knitters and will be ready to mail it as soon as I get the green-light from the project organizer.

Now I’m inspired to finish my latest prayer shawl!  I have 16 rows left!

A Lapghan for Charity

Yesterday, when I got home from my early-morning trip, I saw a package by my front door.

When I opened it, I found this:

It’s an Oddball Orphan Blanket!  It will be headed to an orphanage in Mexico when it’s finished.

It has been quite some time since I’ve worked on an oddball project, so I’m thrilled!  I think I’ve selected a pattern for the 200 stitches sitting on those needles.  Although I’m feeling under the weather today, I hope to pick it up tomorrow and begin working my 3″ section.  I’ll post a picture when I’m done.

You can follow the blanket’s progress by visiting this site.

Random Acts of Knitting

I want to start a new movement, and I want to call it Random Acts of Knitting.

What on earth, you may be wondering, has led me down this path?

Well, the reason, dear friends, has to do with the chemo cap I knit for my bank teller.

I had the privilege of gifting it today.

You must understand that I do not want any recognition for the knitting I do for others.  That is part of the fun of knitting the Oddball Blankets.  It was the fun of knitting for Knitting Guy’s mom, Ms. Jean.  Unless I knit a gift for Christmas or a birthday. I do not get to see the recipient’s face.

Not so today, although that was not my intention.

I took the hat, wrapped in a gift bag, as I ran errands.  My plan was to drop it off quickly and leave.  I didn’t even sign the card I had included.

When I walked into the branch, I was greeted, by name, by one of the customer service representatives…the advantage of living in a small town.  Since I wasn’t sure how to spell the teller’s name, I stopped and asked the representative.  He pointed to the teller’s counter, indicating that she was working today.

Uh oh…there went my carefully laid-out plan to remain anonymous.

I had, after all, nicknamed her the “Traveling Teller,” and she had gotten a laugh out of it.

God apparently had different plans.

Another gal is on maternity leave, so “my” teller is working in this branch for the next few weeks.

I shyly approached the counter, struck by her courage that led her to go capless today.  Her eyes still had the sparkle I’m familar with.

I’ve gotta tell you that I am not the most confident person around.  I’m very self-conscious and don’t want to come across as weird.

Anyhow, I kept putting one foot in front of the other until I reached her.

While handing her the bag, I told her that I had been touched a couple of weeks ago when I saw her, and I wanted to make something for her, having the perfect yarn in my stash.

She opened it, marveling at the softness of the chinchilla, but I grew concerned that perhaps the cap would be too large.

She quickly put it on.

A perfect fit.

I sincerely told her that I love her.

I meant it.

She is in a tough business where people are always in a hurry.  I’ve never seen her grow impatient, no matter how long or difficult a transaction might be.  A real sweetie.

Hence, my heart-felt words.

She told me that she loves me too.

I exited the bank as gracefully as I could, having never done anything like this before, and sat for a moment to collect myself.

Then I called my sister.  I had to share the experience with her.  I grew teary as I talked.

She understood.

Random Acts of Knitting.

Who can we touch today?  Whether it be a homeless person who needs a pair of mittens or a newborn in need of a blanket.  It doesn’t take much time, and it doesn’t take much money.  A little effort goes a long way.

I was reminded of that today as I saw the joy reflected in my teller’s eyes.

I am humbled that God would use my hands to bring such joy to someone.  I pray that I will continue to keep my eyes open to others who could use a Random Act of Knitting to bring a ray of sunshine to their day.

Keeping the Post Office Busy

Eighteen blankets…

Laundered…

Folded and packed…

Worsted Weight Blankets

Worsted Weight Blankets

Nine worsted (above) and nine preemie (below)…

Preemie Blankets

Preemie Blankets

Boxed up and ready to go…

Boxed Up!

Boxed Up!

A Tug of My Heart

Isn’t it interesting how a seemingly routine errand can lead to something that pulls at your heart?

Today I didn’t have a subbing job, so I ran a couple of errands on my way to a friend’s house.  I was going over to work on her laptop, but I needed to stop at the bank first.

If you’re like me, you probably go to the same branch…the one closest to your house or place of employment.  Maybe you go during your lunch hour.  Perhaps you run by on your way home from the grocery store.

When you live in a small city like mine, you tend to form casual friendships with those you do business with.

Today, upon entering the bank, I spied my favorite teller.  A few months ago, I noticed that she hadn’t been there in a while, so I asked how she was.  There have been some staffing changes, and I was curious.  I was told that she now travels to different branches.  She’s so good that they use her to fill in whereever there’s a need.

Today was her day to be in “my” branch, and I called out to her.  She responded with a smile.  We identify with each other…both of us having teens.

There was something different about her today.  She was wearing one of those caps that chemotherapy patients wear.  I overheard her use the word chemotherapy to a co-worker.

My heart fell.

I immediately wanted to do something for my favorite “Traveling Teller.”

This is how charity works, I believe.  The tug of the heart that leads to action.

Do you remember the cap I made for Ms. Jean?  The pattern for the cap is here.  The cap that I made did not exactly turn out the way I wanted, but I know it was the thought that mattered.

I bought some Chinchilla yarn a few months ago, intending to make another cap — one that hopefully resembles the picture in the pattern:

After seeing my favorite teller today, I am thinking that I might just need to go ahead and cast on for the hat.  My intention is to offer it to the gal with a hug and prayers.  Please pray for her.  Said teller’s name is Jody.

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